Susan Margaret Hutton

 

The website

 

(This website is the result of a partnership between Susan and her brother Tom. He does the tricky computer work and has taught her all she knows, she does the research aided by all her siblings, Mary, Caroline, Tom, Andrew and their cousin Melissa. Other, more distant cousins, having come across this website have also offered helpful information. They are credited on the pages they have helped to improve. The people on RootsChat.com also provide free valuable assistance together with the Scottish Highland site Am Baile. Scotland's People, while one has to pay, has great resources, is helpful when contacted and finally Google often turns up trumps).

 

My youth

 

Born in London in 1934, I was very ill as a toddler, catching a nasty infection, and had to learn to walk all over again when I recovered. As a child during the Second World War I moved, with my family, to Wiltshire, Lancashire and Oxfordshire before settling in Sevenoaks, Kent until the war ended. Back in London, in 1946, I went to St Paul's School, not as posh then as it is now, and finally, as a result of the family move to Hildenborough, Kent - to a Sevenoaks girls' school - Walthamstow Hall, a school originally set up for the daughters of missionaries! I was not a good student but scraped through enough exams to be accepted for the FEI (Froebel Educational Institute) to train as a primary school teacher.

 

My first adventure, Australia.

 

While at college a friend and I decided that we would not stay in the UK for the rest of our lives so having done our 2 years teaching in Wiltshire (me) and Devon (her) off we went. She had a sister in New Zealand so she emigrated there and I found a job (at the Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women!) in Sale, Victoria, Australia. I sailed on the 'Orsova' from Tilbury in early January 1958. We went through the Suez Canal via Aden, Columbo and Freemantle to Melbourne where my headmistress to be met me from the boat.

I spent three very happy years in Sale making good friends, some of whom I am still in touch with! However, while there, teaching infants in the local C of E girls' school, I continued to use my musical talent playing the organ in the local Presbyterian church (shades of my ancestors) and determined, following advice from a friend there and with the support of my parents, to return to the UK and train as a music teacher.

Before I returned to the UK I had a month long holiday with my friend, Rosemary, in New Zealand. We spent a month hitch-hiking round both islands doing two of the big walks, the Milford Track and the Routeburn. We did the Routeburn unguided with two friends before one of the huts on the track was even built and had to sleep under a tarpaulin by Lake Mackenzie (ancestors again?) on the middle night, what an adventure!

 

Back to the UK

 

Sadly leaving New Zealand behind and with no idea that I would return there, I flew back to Sale, stayed with various friends for a short while and then sailed back to Europe on a Greek boat finishing in Athens where mother and Andrew met me. We did a bit of sightseeing and then took the train back to London. I think it took 3 days and Andrew had to share with a foreign man! I can remember arriving in Venice at night and hurrying out of the train to look at the Grand Canal!

By now it was halfway through 1961 but I was able to enrol for the summer term as a student at the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) which at that time had a residential centre at Addington Palace, a former bishop's palace, in Croydon. They were pleased to have me being very short of female voices for all the services that were sung there. I also worked for, and got, a piano teaching diploma at the Guildhall. I stayed on there for the academic year 1961/62 during which time we had, at Nizels Ridge - my parent's home, six splendid musical Sundays using friends of ours, the family, invited guests and some of the students I worked with at Addington. There was no audience, you could only come if you played or sang. Mother turned on magnificent suppers in the interval. Fifty years later I can still remember an enormous poached salmon done in a fish kettle!

While at Addington, the director received a letter asking if there was a student who would like to go to New Zealand and teach in a C of E girls' there. I was asked and the rest is history!

 

Off to New Zealand

 

In November 1962 Mother and I sailed from Naples in the 'Canberra' calling at Aden where mother had friends, Columbo and Freemantle for Perth where I had friends. We then flew to Melbourne, more friends the Broughtons and on to Sydney where we met Dad who had flown there. The three of us drove up to Brisbane, staying with Rosemary Cotton, Mother's first cousin on the Mackay side. They returned home via America where we think they visited more cousins, WRD Cuthbertson was living in San Francisco at that time. I spent some time with various friends in Victoria and then flew to New Zealand arriving in January 1963 for the start of the new school year.

I spent the first 6 years of my stay, 1963-1968, in a small country town, Stratford, in the province of Taranaki. My sister Mary came out on a boat through the Panama Canal and stayed with me for about 5 months during those years. It was great to have her and we had a splendid 3 week tour of the South Island together. The friends I made at that time are all still friends, as are their children, we had a splendid social life, lots of parties and good meals together. It was there, in 1964, that I did the damage to my leg which bothers me now, at a 10 yr. old's birthday party!

From 1969 - 1974 I worked in Auckland in another C of E school. Andrew came to stay while I was living in Auckland and, after he and Cathy became an item, she came to stay too. Luckily I had a big enough house since I also had a student, William Wintle, living with me. What is more, while I was living in a university city I decided to study for, and get, a B Mus. Looking back I am amazed that I managed despite having a full time job with a heavy extra-curricular programme to run. Sadly by early 1975 my mother was in the last stages of her horrible illness so I decided I had better return to the UK. Only stopping to visit Caroline, pregnant with Emre, and Huseyin in Istanbul I arrived back in London on my birthday, March 8th thus marking the end of my New Zealand adventure.

(From 1963 until the present day New Zealand has been an important part of my life. At least half of the people on my Christmas card list live there and for many years I have made an annual visit to the country, now alas, to be discontinued. I still have a trace of the accent left when I speak although I have lived back in the UK since 1975. My parents, Mary and Andrew have all stayed with me there and as a result I have a Kiwi sister-in-law and two nephews who also know that country. I love the place, the people, the way of life and am only sorry that it is so far away and the journey so awful.)

 

Final return to the UK.

 

I stayed with my parents supporting my father in his care for my mother until she died on July 17th 1975. I had got a job for September locally by then, at Angley School in Cranbrook, so I stayed on with my father until he re-married Patricia in July 1976. I am ashamed to say that I didn't attend their wedding having urgent business in Auckland to do with selling my house there which had to be fitted into the school holidays. On return, I moved to Cranbrook , buying my predecessor's house where I remained until December 1994. the longest I had ever lived in the same house. I have kept a handful of friends from that period of my life and, thanks to the French Exchanges that took place at the school, I made some very good French friends too.

 

The big European Experience, a middle-aged 'Gap Year' 1984/85

 

I have always loved travelling and, after becoming dissatisfied with my job, I decided to buy a small VW camping van and have a year, actually 10 months, travelling on the continent. I kept a diary and a scrapbook so will content myself with some statistics. I travelled 11,000 miles, visited 9 countries from Denmark to central Turkey and the whole experience cost in total 3,000. I even sold the van with no problem on my return to the UK!

 

The Greek House 1989-1998

 

On my return, from 1985-1994, I did relieving teaching here and there, mostly at my old school and mostly part-time, some years doing a bit of bed and breakfast and seven years having a French Assisstant(e) from the local grammar school to stay in term-time. I also played the organ at the parish church for some of those years. After a year or so I started to have itchy feet again and in July 1989 bought, from a photograph, a 70 yr old farmer's house in Vizitsa, a village in the beautiful region of Pelion, Greece. Most of the family have visited it over the years and it also gave great pleasure to many of my friends, including one Australian and several New Zealanders! Despite the many problems of heating in the winter, the damp inside downstairs, the new roof that it needed etc, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but by 1998 the work became too much for me and I was lucky to find a buyer, thanks to my friend Nicola, who took it off my hands. The experience also led me to make a new friend, Rachel, who is an honorary member of my family.

 

Retirement to London 1994-

 

By the time I turned 60 in 1994 I had had enough of teaching. I didn't want to spend my retirement years in a small country town so decided to move to London to be near Mary and Dad and Patricia. I was lucky, only looking at one flat before I bought it. It is a decision I have never regretted, easy access to every sort of cultural entertainment, easy access to train stations and airports, it has been the perfect place for me to live and thrive especially as there is no garden to worry about! I am always pleased to see family and friends who might want a bed in London and with my computer I can keep in touch with friends all over the world, what could be better. I have to say that living just a stone's throw from Mary is also an enormous bonus, she is a great friend as well as a splendid sister.